Observing a Blue Moon

July's Second Full Moon Lisa A. Wisniewski

July’s Second Full Moon
Lisa A. Wisniewski

July is a bit special this year due to having two full moons.  The first one occurred on July 1st, which I wrote about in another post.  The second one occurs July 31st. What makes these events so special? Well, it depends upon your perspective.

Full Moon Views

If you are into astronomy, you may enjoy the facts and statistics surrounding full moons, historical views of the moon’s size and shape, and blue moons.

If you are a gardener, you may understand how the extra light of a full moon affects the ripening of tomatoes on the vine and how the moon is thought to affect moisture in soil.

If you are a nature lover, you may simply appreciate watching the moon rise with a huge face full of color that turns from pink to orange to white during its ascent.

If you are a poet, you may be inspired by the presence of the full moon and all the wonder it evokes upon the mind.

If you fall into another category, you may have your own reasons for why full moons are special.

Blue Moon in July  Lisa A. Wisniewski

Blue Moon in July
Lisa A. Wisniewski

Two Definitions of Blue Moon

There are two definitions of a blue moon . The first definition is the third full moon in an astronomical season having four full moons.  An astronomical season is defined by the dates of the equinoxes and solstices.  Winter, spring, summer, and fall are astronomical seasons.

The second definition of a blue moon is the second full moon in a given month.  Since it takes about 29 days for the moon to cycle through its phases, one can see the occurrence of two full moons in one month does not happen all that often.  Hence, the phrase, “Once in a blue moon.”

Blooms in the Garden Lisa  A. Wisniewski

Blooms in the Garden
Lisa A. Wisniewski

Gardening by the Moon

There is much folklore regarding the moon phases and gardening.  Growing up, my Uncle Bill showed me how tomatoes on the vine ripen faster with a full moon.  He explained that the extra light facilitated the ripening and blooming process.

Centuries ago, farmers observed changes in soil moisture that aligned with the phases of the moon.  They used the moon phases to help guide their planting.

Moon and Clouds Lisa A. Wisniewski

Moon and Clouds
Lisa A. Wisniewski

Full Moon Influence on Science, Math, and Art

Early astronomers like Galileo questioned the who, what, when, where, how and why of the moon.  These questions fostered knowledge, understanding, and growth, spilling from the science and math arena into the arts.

As understanding about the moon and earth’s interaction grew, scientists and artists began to hypothesize and create writings, paintings, and other vehicles to communicate their thoughts and understandings.  Thus, many found themselves influenced by the moon.

The blue moon in particular has influenced many songs, paintings, and writings, possibly due to its uniqueness and rarer occurrence.

Wonders in the Changing Sky Lisa A. Wisniewski

Wonders in the Changing Sky
Lisa A. Wisniewski

Always Something Changing

Regardless of one’s perspective on the blue moon, the science behind its appearance and frequency illustrates how changes in nature allow the mind and body to grow, adapt, and learn.

As we go through this process, we find ourselves changing in some way.  It is a viscous cycle of life we cannot escape, which I suppose is what keeps the world and us moving closer to our destination.

Changing Skies Above Lisa A. Wisniewski

Changing Skies Above
Lisa A. Wisniewski

Resources and Related Links

Astronomical seasons – http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/aboutseasons.html

Blue moon definition – http://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/moon/blue-moon.html

Moon folklore and gardening – http://www.almanac.com/content/farming-moon

Moon influences – http://www.astronomytoday.com/astronomy/earthmoon.html

Moon phases – http://www.moonconnection.com/moon_phases_calendar.phtml

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